2018 NBA playoffs live: Will opponents start daring Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz to shoot?


The first round of the NBA playoffs continues today with Game 2 in the Miami-Philadelphia and San Antonio-Golden State series. Follow along here for the latest analysis and commentary from The Post’s NBA reporter Tim Bontemps, and ask him questions in the comments section.

Schedule | Pregame reading | Comments section Q&A

Steve Kerr isn’t won’t answer strategy questions. That’s nonsense.

The final question of Steve Kerr’s news conference was a simple one: Will Andre Iguodala remain in the starting lineup for a second straight game?

Here was Kerr’s response:

“I’m no longer going to be magnanimous in our information sharing. … You can ask me, [but] I’m not going to answer.”

The thing about this is, Kerr hardly ever answers strategy questions. This is a thing among coaches; Sixers Coach Brett Brown did it earlier Monday. The thinking goes that, with opponents paying attention to these news conferences, the coaches would rather keep their information close to the vest as long as possible.

Personally, I think this is nonsense. There isn’t an adjustment that these teams haven’t spent hours considering ahead of time. No extra half-hour of thinking is going to fix it. This is one of the few ways that the NBA is like the NFL.

But now, at least from Kerr’s perspective, he’s made it official.

Will opponents start daring Markelle Fultz to shoot?

It’s really been remarkable that Markelle Fultz has been able to return after missing most of the season and immediately make an impact for Philadelphia.

But it will be interesting to see — either in this series or as the playoffs progress — whether teams begin to try to dare him into being more involved as a shooter.

Fultz’s latest attempt — a step-back fadeaway in the baseline corner —resulted in an airball, and his shot still looks shaky. Could a team choose to employ the “Hack-A” strategy with him? Could they decide not to be within 10 feet of him when he has the ball?

Fultz isn’t going to play many minutes, but moves like that could make it difficult for Sixers Coach Brett Brown to play him at all.

An uneven start for Goran Dragic in Game 2

One thing that had to happen in Game 2 for Miami: getting Goran Dragic more involved. The Heat’s all-star point guard was all but invisible in Game 1, playing 31 ineffectual minutes that saw him score 15 points on 14 shots.

So it was a great sign for the Heat that Dragic came out aggressive in the opening minutes of Game 2, scoring six quick points. What was not so great of a sign? Him also picking up two fouls within the first five minutes of Monday night’s game and heading straight to the bench.

As one of the few Miami players who can consistently break down a defense, that could prove to be a key moment in the game.

What will the Heat do with Hassan Whiteside?

There are two things to watch in the opening game of tonight’s NBA playoff doubleheader between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers: how much Hassan Whiteside plays, and how effective he is when he does.

Whiteside was dreadful in Game 1 on Saturday night, scoring two points on 1-for-4 shooting with two turnovers in 12 minutes. Most importantly, Whiteside was minus-16, with much of that coming in Philadelphia’s game-changing run to start the third quarter that put the Sixers ahead for good.

After the game, Whiteside said he had faith in the coaching staff, but there have been trust issues between him and Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra for some time now. The blame for those issues lies with Whiteside, who has proven to be as unreliable as everyone thought he might be when Miami signed him to a four-year max contract two years ago.

Now, the goal for the Heat has to be to limit Whiteside’s minutes until Joel Embiid comes back in this series — because that is when Whiteside can have an impact. Embiid has already been ruled out of Game 2, however, so Whiteside’s role should be limited Monday night. How limited, and what happens if Spoelstra makes it really limited bears watching — not just for this series, but also as a prelude to a potential move away from Whiteside this summer (if Miami can find a taker for him).

Monday’s schedule (all times Eastern)

  • Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
  • San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

Pregame reading

Victor Oladipo says Cavs owner added ‘fuel to the fire’ with swipe at Paul George trade

Brewer: The Wizards and Raptors were once peers in development. Now they aren’t even close.

How Quin Snyder set aside a broken NCAA career to become an NBA coach of the year candidate

A new NBA story line: The Warriors may not be favorites to win another title

Their two biggest stars lost to injury, the Celtics still have one giant advantage: Their coach

Dirk Nowitzki isn’t part of these NBA playoffs, but Dirk clones are everywhere

‘My friend was shot’: How an assassin’s bullets in Israel changed an NBA team’s name in D.C.

Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell can’t agree on who is rookie of the year and it’s pretty funny

Comment Q&A

Hop into the comments section below starting at 7 p.m. to chat with The Post’s Tim Bontemps about all of your NBA questions.



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